The most common symbolic representation of skulls are of death and mortality; used to often to enforce a feeling of doom and gloom.
Throughout history the use of a skull in the arts has played a significant visual aid, Shakespeare’s Hamlet being one of the most famous scenes in which a skull has (literally) taken centre ‘stage’.
In fashion, Alexander McQueen appropriated the skull icon back from its previous style ‘owners’ – the Hell’s Angels. By garnishing the skull over his own-brand bags and scarves he converted the skull into a covetable trend, ready to wear for those looking to radiate a sense of edginess.
Culturally the skull is of momentous importance, arguably most significantly in Mexico, where it is the symbol of the Day of the Dead celebrities, emblazoned on masks (calacas in Spanish) and in the form of sweets and chocolates.
You can discover skulls in every artistic form on Fotolia: